Saturday, October 1, 2011

Whoa, I have a minute

It has been ages since I did a blog post, but tonight I had an uncommon thing happen--I didn't have anything to do.  It was a weird out-of-body feeling.  At first I stood there for several seconds as I tried to remember if there were any to-dos I had just forgotten.    I found myself actually going on Facebook and actually reading my friends blogs--two things I've been wanting to do for a long time.  Then I thought I ought to update this blog since I have been terrible about keeping it up.  I think its been almost six months since my last post.  That is awful!

Our family has been busy but doing great. We are so excited for baby #2, due December 21.  For those who hadn't heard, it is a little girl.  A few months ago Ben and I were discussing names, and we both agreed that we like the name Lily.  That name has kind of stuck (since there are very few names we can agree on), so that will probably end up being it unless she comes out looking very un-Lily-ish.

Ben's second year has been busy but not too terrible.  We had heard from all of our med school friends who are farther along that second year is a lot worse than first, which really scared, but we've just had to get used to a new study routine.  Ben has a test every third week.  The first week is pretty laid back.  He gets home around 5:00 p.m. and studies maybe one to two more hours that evening.  The second week is a bit harder.  He is available for just a couple of hours every night.  The third week is pretty rough.  I basically don't see him till after 10:30 p.m. every night.  Since there is some ebb and flow, it is manageable, and every third weekend he is completely free, which is nice.  I have our third weekends all planned out for the next few months.  From what he's said, school is more interesting this year.  He actually gets to study things related to the practice of medicine as opposed to general science classes (which I thought we had covered in undergrad).

My work has been about as perfect for our situation as can be hoped for, especially for an attorney job.  I work 8-5.  The atmosphere is pretty low stress.  I have only had a handful of stressful days.  Some of the work can be tedious, but overall I like it.  The firm does all public education law.  I've had some interesting issues to handle too--some special ed legal issues, some religion issues, and some cases involving theft by employees.  I was also in charge of 5-6 employee grievances and got to attend a couple of grievance hearings.  It wasn't quite as exciting as going to court, but I'll take what I can get.

Whitney is doing awesome.  She is developing so quickly these days.  Her sentences are getting long.  Just tonight she said something like, "mommy, hear that sound outside?"  Every once and awhile she will come out with a few words that are strung together in a comprehensible fashion like that, and it kind of surprises me.  Sometimes she seems more like a kid than a baby, and that is just weird.  She is turning 2 in two weeks.  Next weekend we are having a joint friend birthday party with five other kids who are turning 2 in our ward (crazy, huh?).  We are doing some hot dogs and games at a park.  I'll try to post some video.  

Ben said I should post some pictures, so here are a few pictures our friend Marissa took of us back in May.

  


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Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Morning/Mini travel log

We hope you all had a happy Easter.  We had a wonderful day.  We did a little Easter egg hunt in the morning.  Whitney really seemed to enjoy it.  It has been fun to see her actually start to participate in holiday traditions.  Last year we did a hunt, but of course she was oblivious to what was happening.  Here's a little video I took of Whitney: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHR0wyGdoz0.  We were also fortunate to be invited to an Easter dinner that night at a friend's house.  The friend's family was there as well.  It was so nice to go to a family dinner, even though it wasn't necessarily our family.  

Life has been the same as usual, but there have been a few events of note since I last wrote (which was ages ago, I know).  During Ben's spring break in March we decided to go on a little family trip to San Antonio.  I had no idea San Antonio would be such a charming city.  We went on the famous River Walk our first night there, and it was gorgeous.  For those who have never heard of it, the city created a 5 mile (maybe) river running through downtown below the street level.  On either side of the river are tons of restaurants and interesting shops.  It is really beautiful at night when all of the shops are lit up and you can see the large sky scrapers towering above you.  I'd describe it as a metropolitan version of Venice.  The only unpleasant thing was all of the crowds.  It was spring break for the whole state of Texas and it seemed like the whole state of Texas decided to go to San Antonio.  Thankfully there was a boatride that we were able to take down most of the river.  Our second day in San Antonio we went to Sea World.  I'd never been.  The highlights of the day were feeding the dolphins and seeing the Shamu show.
 


The next week we spontaneously decided to head to New Orleans to watch BYU play in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA playoffs.  The game was a bit disappointing, but the trip was really fun.  We went with a few of our med school friend-couples, all of whom would make any trip fun anyway.  The second day we were there we took a swamp tour and saw a few gators.  None of them were more than four feet long, but I was secretly grateful for that, especially since Whitney kept sticking her fingers over the side of the boat. We also spent a day in the French Quarter. The French Quarter is beautiful, and cultural, but quirky.  It reminded me a bit of London, full of history and beautiful architecture, but also full of extreme pop culture and crazy drunken people.  For those reasons, it is a definite must-see.  I think it is one of the most culturally interesting places in the US, with an identity all its own.  It, of course, is influenced by France in its buildings, food, etc.  But all of that is mixed with a southern flavor--adding its elements of mysticism, jazz, and a general edginess you really can't find anywhere else.  



  My mom also visited the week before our trips, which was so fun.  I got to see a lot of things in Dallas I wouldn't have taken the trouble to see otherwise.  I look forward to my sister coming in a couple of weeks!

That's about it on the home front! We love you all!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Back in the saddle again

This month has been all about getting back into the groove of things after our fabulous time with family and friends over Christmas break.  Back into school, back into looking for a job, and back into doing whatever it is Whitney and I do during the day.  Things have been good, but it was pretty depressing the first couple of weeks we were back.  We have been fairly productive this month, though.

Ben's been working as hard as ever in school.  He has done awesome on his first couple of graded tests, which is encouraging.  He really wants to get into an ophthalmology residency (and I want him to get the one, yes, one only, ophthalmology residency in Utah), and he is going to need to do well to get it.  Whether he gets it will depend upon a few things.  One, he'll have to get in the top half of his class at least.  Two, he will have to do well on "Step 1", the first part of the boards.  You take "Step 2" closer to the end of medical school, and I guess there is also a "Step 3" during residency.  Three, he'll have to get some impressive extracurricular stuff under his belt too.  It's like applying for medical school all over again.  He likes ophthalmology because he is very interested in eyes.  It is a nice combination of things.  You generally work good hours.  You get some laid back time where you just have office visits.  And you get to do surgery, which is both interesting and lucrative.

Medical students kid that there are four residencies that are the most desirable.  It is called the "ROAD" to happiness.  "R" being radiology,  "O" being ophthalmology,  "A" being anesthesiology, and "D" being dermatology.  They are desirable because they are some of the highest paying medical jobs, and they are mostly 8-5, and sometimes less hours than that.  We'll see if things are not a bit less rose-colored in reality.    

I've had a fairly busy month.  I ran a half marathon last Saturday.  I did it in 1:55, which is 15 minutes faster than my last half marathon time.   I've also been doing a lot more with my calling.  I got called to be the Mia Maid Advisor in addition to being the Personal Progress leader.  I am in charge of one activity a month--the personal progress activity.  So, I did that this month.  I also did a big part of our New Beginnings Program, helped plan the last stake dance, and helped with the girls' camp fundraiser--a dinner and dessert auction, which actually turned out great.   That, in addition to applying for jobs every day, has made a busy month.

Whitney also had the blues for awhile after coming back to Texas, but I think she is back into her routine and pretty happy.  We signed up for a weekly gym class at the city rec center.  "Class" consists of playing with toys, balls, and trikes; jumping around in the large bouncy houses; crawling through a couple of little toddler obstacle courses; and doing a musical activity with the group.  She loves it!  It is one of the highlights of the week.  We also do a playgroup with a bunch of the women in the ward.  A couple of weeks ago I also started doing some routine little lessons with just her and me.  We spend ten minutes learning about a subject (that's the length of her attention span). So far we've learned about body parts, animals, and objects around the house.  Then we do either music time, art time, or puzzles.  Its been nice to have some structured play time.  It helps the morning go faster for me, anyway.

Whitney is also doing great with her walking.  She is walking most of the time.  She is also REALLY into bracelets, necklaces, and balls right now.  Its pretty fun to watch her walk around all decked out with bracelets and necklaces.

I'm working on posting some random videos we took this last month.  So, keep watching.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Arkansas/White Coat Ceremony/Halloween

As the title to this post suggests, we've had a lot going on lately, and I've been really slow about getting anything up about it.

Two weeks ago we went to Arkansas to visit Ben's grandparents.  It was a welcome break after "Blacktober", the first couple of weeks in October during which the first year medical students have a ton of tests.  I had no idea Arkansas was so beautiful!  It is covered with rolling hills and dense woods.  I was particularly pleased to see the autumn leaves coming out.  The drive was about 6 1/2 hours.  Whitney handled it pretty well.  It was great to spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa Buckner.  They kept us entertained with their stories.  They have both had such interesting lives!  They also drove us out to a beautiful man-made lake near their home.  Whitney had a blast crawling around after their dog and watching their domesticated flying squirrel.  



Ben's white coat ceremony was two Saturdays ago.  The ceremony is kind of an induction into the medical field even though he doesn't really know anything yet and has no authority to do anything.  At least now he kind of looks legit.  The ceremony consisted of four faculty speakers and then each student was presented with their white coat.  I posted some pictures below and a video of Ben getting his coat at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JZSTUOO784.  The second picture is Ben and his mentor Dr. Nesbitt by a  banner for his college.  The student body is divided into 6 colleges.  Each college has a group of doctors who are assigned to mentor six students in each year.

On a semi-related note, if you love the "I'm on a boat" skit on SNL, you will probably like this video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfoR96w41wk.  It's called "I wear a coat" and it was done by some of the medical students at Ben's school.  It is hilarious.





The night of the ceremony we went to our ward's "Trunk or Treat."  I'm embarrassed to say I had never heard of a "Trunk or Treat" before we moved to Texas.  I've always lived in neighborhoods where there was no question whether kids were safe going to complete strangers homes late at night.  I suppose in Dallas it is a different story.  For those who, like myself, had never heard of it before, it is essentially trick or treating in a parking lot out of people's trunks (if that wasn't obvious enough).  Several of the trunks were decked out with halloween decor.  Our trunk was pretty bare except for the jack o' lanterns we had carved earlier that day. The highlight of the night was watching Whitney and her friend Maggie crawl around in their butterfly costumes.  I also posted a picture of her with Hudson, one of her other little friends.  It was taken at a Halloween party we had a couple of weeks ago with some of the married MS1 students and their wives.  







Not much else is new.  Oh yeah, I passed the Texas Bar Exam!  Woohoo! We miss you all!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Whitney's First Birthday!!!

Whitney's birthday was not the magical experience I was hoping it would be, but I did my best.  Part of the problem was that she had gotten over a bad fever only the day before and wouldn't take a nap that afternoon.  I had foolishly scheduled her 12-month wellness appointment for that morning.  Usually we would be out of a wellness appointment in 45 minutes.  However, we have a new pediatrician who seems to have overcommitted herself in terms of the amount of patients she serves.  We waited for two hours before we even saw the doctor.  Whitney was suffering the whole wait.  Because of the lateness of the doctor's appointment, Whitney's nap schedule was wrecked for the rest of the day.  By the time we got to her birthday party that evening she was very tired and sensitive.

I probably shouldn't have had my expectations so high, but I can't help it, I'm a new mom.  I have dreamed for years about throwing AMAZING birthday parties for my kids.  These parties would be Disney themed and be decked to the hilt with balloon animals, homemade birthday tiaras, and cakes in the shape of the Taj Mahal.  Maybe the problem lies in the fact that I keep comparing myself to my mom, who always seemed to throw incredible birthday parties.  Well, hopefully I'll get better with practice.  I also need to prioritize.  The first order of business is making sure the birthday girl is happy.

Here are links to a couple of videos we took of opening presents and having birthday cake:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY6MVxpmBzc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0KqbA7fTXw

Earlier in the day, we went swimming (one of Whitney's favorite activities) and had pizza, strawberries, and grapes (Whitney's favorite foods).  She seemed to get happier as the party worn on.


        

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Third video

video
For some reason my third video for the below post didn't load.  Here it is.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Videos of Whitney, Texas State Fair, Oktoberfest

Some of the grandparents requested videos of Whitney.  I posted three below.  They capture simple things Whitney does during the day.  A lot of this stuff gives me mommy-pride, but I realize it is stuff every infant does, so sorry if you're bored to tears, but I love it!  

video video
Ben is passing all his classes so far.  The school makes this first semester pass/fail so that the students can get used to the rigorous study schedule without putting a dent into their GPAs.  (I REALLY wish they would have done that for law school.)

In the last few weeks we have been to two local events: Oktoberfest in Addison and the Texas State Fair in downtown Dallas.  Oktoberfest was more family-oriented than you might expect, though there was plenty of beer to be had.  We watched some German folk dancers, checked out a bunch of vendors, and entered to win a Mercedes Benz (The call is coming any day now. I know it!).  The Texas State Fair was fun, though to have A LOT of fun there you have to have a lot of money.  Nevertheless, we saw an auto show; had some Southern carnival food (a little more carnival than Southern, unfortunately--though they did have fried beer which would have tasted very Southern); watched an electric parade (akin to the Disney electric parade but not nearly as cool); and saw a light show with fireworks, flames, and an illuminated stage.  We didn't go on any of the carnival rides since most of them cost $5 per person--ouch.

Not much else is new.  We'd love to hear what is going on with all of you!